NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Regular-season co-champions Carleton College and Gustavus Adolphus met in the final round of the MIAC Men’s Soccer Playoffs with the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament at stake. Despite a few terrific scoring opportunities on both sides, neither team could find the back of the net… that is until the shootout. After 110 minutes of scoreless soccer, the sides lined up to alternate penalty kicks, a scenario that saw Gustavus eventually prevail by a 7-6 margin.
While Gustavus (15-2-2) is the conference’s automatic qualifier to the national tournament, the Knights (17-1-2) must now wait until Monday to find out if they are one of the 20 at-large bids to the 62-team field for the NCAA Championships.
Carleton’s first opportunity to get on the scoreboard came in the sixth minute. Derek Funk (Sr./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) collected a rebound at the top of the six-yard box but his shot was cleared off the line by a Gustie defender.
In the 43rd minute, Branden McGarrity (Fy./Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) brought down a long ball and rocketed a shot off the crossbar. Despite a 12-2 edge in shots over the first half, the Knights entered intermission locked in a scoreless duel.
The Gusties’ best scoring chances came early in the second half. Leading goal scorer Zach Brown was fouled inside the 18-yard box, providing the visitors with a penalty kick opportunity in the 53rd minute. Carleton goalkeeper James Neher (Jr./Mahtomedi, Minn./Mahtomedi) made a diving stop of Grant Steine’s blast, then a rebound attempted struck the right post and kept the scoreless deadlock in place.
Carleton had a 19-8 edge in shots during the contest and a 13-6 advantage in corner kicks, but after regulation and two overtime periods failed to generate a result, the game went into the scorebook as a 0-0 tie.
However the MIAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships had yet to be awarded, so the sides lined up for the shootout. The two squads, which had been unable to solve each other’s defense for nearly two hours suddenly could not miss.
Alternating attempts, the first three shooters for each side scored. David Lilly, Jason Schwab, and Lucas Thompson for Gustavus. Alex Voorhees (Sr./Winnetka, Ill./New Trier), Will Corcoran (Jr./Mahtomedi, Minn./Mahtomedi), and Neil Bartholomay (Jr./St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) for Carleton.
The run of success continued with the fourth round of shooters. Neher got his hands on Sean Sendelbach’s shot, but the ball deflected into the left side of the net. Carleton senior Brian Rhodes (Kalamazoo, Mich./Mattawan) answered by slotting his shot home.
Steine, who had been denied on a similar shot in regulation, converted a slow shot to the left side. But McGarrity continued his solid play by leveling the score at 5-5.
Gustavus’ Bryan Bjork made the Gusties 6-for-6, and Simon Ginet (Jr./Arlington, Mass./Arlington) bounced his shot off the bottom of the cross bar and into the goal forcing another round of attempts.
Brown converted a seventh straight shot for the visitors, and Gustavus goalkeeper Brett Ylonen dove and got a hand of Funk’s attempt, which then stuck the left post before dribbling away.
While the Gusties gathered to celebrate, the Knights were left to turn their attention to Monday’s selection show, which is scheduled to be broadcast on NCAA.com at 12 p.m. CT. Here’s the direct link: